So, we went to a fancy restaurant overlooking the city last night. For once, we wanted to try a posh, ‘romantic’ restaurant for the day (ah, the poor Romantics, by now identified with teddy bears, sugary ballads and heart-shaped balloons and voids). The food was mediocre, the view Jod had was majestic. The live music was too loud, but unexpectedly decent, given the circumstances.
What really left an impression on me was the campness of the whole enterprise, but this is something we had to experience at least once and something so commonplace, it is trivial to comment on.
As Jod got the view, I got the view to the interior of the restaurant. A very peculiar thing I noticed was people’s expressions and behaviour: of course, all tables were for two, everybody in there were in couples. Still, there was no passion or intensity in any couple’s interaction, but that’s probably ok: you do not dress up and spend lots of money to play Tristan and Iseuld, even if you feel exactly like it, in the midst of heart-shaped confetti, beef roulades and smart waiters brandishing implausibly expensive potion bottles labelled as ‘wine’.
Nevertheless, there was no cosy familiarity or everyday tenderness, either. The couples seated around us looked like they were going through some obligation, embalmed like on a visit to some boring aunt on Sunday lunchtime. They exchanged pseudo-bourgeois blank stares and had that deferential and slightly tedium-ridden look on their faces. It was an existentialist’s Purgatory, everyone looking together and everyone being alone, staring at tablecloths and absent-mindedly patting the significant other’s hand. I remembered the other party; ‘No fun’, as Iggy Pop would put it. But if there is no fun to be had, why not stay in?
Jod recalled me back to sobriety, as ever. How can I know? How can I tell? How do I think we look like to others? People did dress up and did spend lots of money to come here (as evidenced by the uncomfortable attires, the out-of-tune makeup and mismatched necklaces), they cannot even hear each other talking (for the music): it is natural to look slightly stiff.
The debate remains unresolved, save for one thing: next year we are hitting our prized Danish sofa, our penguins-and-polar-bears blanket on us, with all the wine, cheese and pastry yesterday’s bill can buy, or slightly less. Still, I am very happy with the tulips I got yesterday, seeing them in bloom when I woke up at 6:15 this morning.